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Do it yourself

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Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:11 pm

There seem to be a lot of handy and inventive people who hang out here. I'd like to get better at fixing and making, especially when it comes to home and auto. Just general "handyman" type stuff.
So, I Gotta fell and chop up about 20 trees on my inlaws property. did this a little as a youngster, but i need a refresher so I don't die. Any tips as well as recommendations for a solid chainsaw would help immensely.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby elisha wiesner on Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:39 pm

in no order:

A sharp chain is a must. They're easy to sharpen by hand.

Small and wimpy saws are next to useless for anything other than cutting branches.

Many trees will have a natural way they want to fall but you can direct them quite a bit. Do you know how to notch and then cut from the other side? If not, Basically you cut a v shaped notch maybe halfway through the tree on the side facing where you want the tree to fall and then you go to the back side and cut slightly down and towards the center of this notch. The tree will start to fall before you get to the notch.

I have a Husqvarna saw with a 20" bar that I like just fine. I think it's my third Husky. My Dad always had Jonsered saws but switched to Huskies a few years ago as well. I don't have any massive love for them but their mid-priced saws are fine. honestly, if there's a really good local chainsaw mechanic, go with what he works on. I have a slightly more powerful husky now - don't remember the model name- but had one of their Rancher series saws for years and it was fine.

Ethanol destroys the rubber parts in your saw. What I typically do is just use regular mixed gas while I'm cutting and then on the last tank of the day, I fill it with the expensive pre-mixed stuff, which doesn't contain Ethanol so that's what it's sitting with.

Before you drop a tree, look up and make sure there are no dead branches about to drop on your head when you start cutting.

Nothing dulls your chain faster than hitting rocks/sand etc... Try to avoid cutting into the dirt.

Good luck.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:59 am

thanks
Yeah, I remember the notching trick. I also remember we used ropes in some capacity to guide the tree in tricky tight areas but i'm not sure how exactly.
Everything i've read says get a 20" blade minimum for cutting down actual trees on the regular, but man there's a pretty big jump in price between 18 and 20. Looks like I can get a 18" stihl, husqvarna, or echo for $300-350 but 20" seems to be $500 and up. Not sure how much they're wanting to spend on a saw. The top companies all have solid warranties, so going used to save $100 doesn't make much sense.
Does it matter that most of these trees are dead?
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby n.c. on Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:35 am

i'm really happy with my stihl 250. i'd recommend an 18" bar.

when i notch my top cut is angled down. bottom cut is flat, level-ish with the ground. back cut should be slightly above the bottom of the notch slightly angled down towards the bottom of the notch.

a peavey (different than the amps) is handy.

i stand with my back to the tree and sight up it. at this point in my life i try and direct the tree as little as possible. if it's at all possible to drop it in the direction that it 'wants' to fall, then i go that way.

get yourself good position, clear underbrush and other trip hazards out of your way. and know your exit strategy once the tree starts to go.

also, at that moment when the tree slowly starts to fall, keep cutting for one more second. its a huge pain in the ass if the tree falls but a significant band of wood is still attached and just bows. do not try and just cut through that band, it will snap sending the tree trunk backwards with the force of a locomotive.
Last edited by n.c. on Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby n.c. on Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:44 am

all of elisha's advice is solid especially regarding keeping a sharp chain.

one thing about this - you need two files and a depth gauge to sharpen your chain. many you tube videos do not cover knocking down the rakers. you can buy a chain sharpening kit that will have both files and the depth gauge.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby elisha wiesner on Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:31 am

I cut down a ton of large oak trees for like 15 years with an 18" bar. All of our firewood as well as my moms firewood, cleared the land for our house and plenty of small paid jobs as well. I even milled the beams for my house with it. 20" and up are better and I don't think I'll ever go back but 18" is totally fine unless you're cutting down really massive trees.

If the trees are dead and rotten, be careful. They can snap halfway up, fall weird and lose branches. If it's just decent standing dead wood, you'll be fine.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby elisha wiesner on Tue Feb 27, 2018 8:35 am

n.c. wrote:get yourself good position, clear underbrush and other trip hazards out of your way. and know your exit strategy once the tree starts to go.

also, at that moment when the tree slowly starts to fall, keep cutting for one more second. its a huge pain in the ass if the tree falls but a significant band of wood is still attached and just bows. do not try and just cut through that band, it will snap sending the tree trunk backwards with the force of a locomotive.


Yeah, both of these things are really important.

Also, if you don't have solid footing, don't cut.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:05 pm

n.c. wrote:all of elisha's advice is solid especially regarding keeping a sharp chain.

one thing about this - you need two files and a depth gauge to sharpen your chain. many you tube videos do not cover knocking down the rakers. you can buy a chain sharpening kit that will have both files and the depth gauge.



Good stuff all around. Thank you.
I'll look into this kit. I use chainsaw files to sharpen my farrier knife, but have no gauge.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby rgauss on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:07 pm

What species are the trees?

In general: First cut should be a horizontal cut about one-third the diameter of the tree, on the side in which you want the tree to fall. Second cut is on the same side and above the first cut. This is at downward sloping angle that will (exactly if possible) meet the first cut at the trunks interior. Remove the wedge-shaped piece you've just made. Third cut is opposite these two cuts, on the back side of the tree. It should be horizontal and about 2 inches above your first cut. As soon as there is room behind the bar on this cut, tap a felling wedge in behind the bar. That'll coax the tree in the direction you want it to fall and prevent your bar from getting pinched if the tree settles back. Continue cutting toward the front of the tree and tapping the wedge as you go. Your back-cut should be parallel to your first cut. On your back-cut, DO NOT CUT BEYOND YOUR FIRST CUT. You need to leave about two inches of uncut material between the two. If the tree isn't going over at this point, pull your saw and wedge it over - use a sledge hammer to drive the wedge in. It can be very helpful to have an extra wedge available. Look up at the top of the tree regularly during the whole process to make sure your not about to buzz or shake a loose limb down on top of you. You'll also see the tree starting to fall by looking at the top sooner than you'll see/sense it falling if your fixated on your cuts. When it starts to go, back away at least 10 or more feet at an angle, while keeping an eye on everything. Another thing to consider before cutting is that the tree has a clear path to the ground once it's cut. You really don't want it to hang up in another tree as it falls or brush through another tree which can throw shit back at you. You need to plan for the operation as a whole. Keep your chain sharp. Don't run out of gas on a cut. Don't dilly-dally. Be careful
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:24 pm

think they're post or blackjack oaks that are dead or dying. Nasty ugly fuckers, but on most of them the bark and branches have been eaten bare from the ground up about 7 feet by their horses. Couple of them are close to the barn and need to come down, because eventually they're gonna come down on the barn or a horse during a storm or high winds. Feel like i'm gonna do a lot of trimming of the remaining live trees on their property too. These trees and limbs are just in the way of everything, especially when your up on a horse.
What about stumps? It'll be silly to do all this work and not get rid of the stumps too, since we're looking to make more space and make things safer on the ground for the horses.
My stepdad was telling me about some machine you can rent that sits on top of the trunk and just chops it all to hell using the PTO of a tractor or dozer or bobcat or something else as power. No idea if that's feasible. I've got access to a mid sized tractor with a bucket though, so that's gonna help with the whole process . Some of them I might be able to burn and/or pull. I remember my grandpa would do that. If he couldn't do anything with the wood we were cutting, he would just pile it around the stump and then burn the whole shebang. I've also heard about people using dynamite to blow up trunks. Yeehawww!! Trunks are a pain in the ass.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby rgauss on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:50 pm

If time isn't of the essence and you want to save money, just cut the stumps as flush to the ground as possible. Then use your bar tip to cut a bunch of crosshatches in the face of the stumps. They'll hold water and speed the rotting process along. Works great with conifers. In a couple of years you'll be able to chop/dig out the top foot or so. Not sure how fast it'll work with oaks.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby elisha wiesner on Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:23 pm

rgauss wrote:If time isn't of the essence and you want to save money, just cut the stumps as flush to the ground as possible. Then use your bar tip to cut a bunch of crosshatches in the face of the stumps. They'll hold water and speed the rotting process along. Works great with conifers. In a couple of years you'll be able to chop/dig out the top foot or so. Not sure how fast it'll work with oaks.


I'm still looking at some of those that I did with oak 12-13 years ago.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby jimmy two hands on Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:14 pm

elisha wiesner wrote:
rgauss wrote:If time isn't of the essence and you want to save money, just cut the stumps as flush to the ground as possible. Then use your bar tip to cut a bunch of crosshatches in the face of the stumps. They'll hold water and speed the rotting process along. Works great with conifers. In a couple of years you'll be able to chop/dig out the top foot or so. Not sure how fast it'll work with oaks.


I'm still looking at some of those that I did with oak 12-13 years ago.


There's a powder you can get that helps move the process along, I think it's potassium nitrate based - instead of cutting crosshatches into the stump you drill some holes in the stump and pour in the powder. I had a stump in my yard I was going to do this with that the previous owner left for me, but it had rotted out enough and was small enough that I could break it up with an axe instead.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby n.c. on Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:16 pm

round these parts you can rent stump grinders. or hire a guy thats got a stump grinder. but i guess thats not diy. i've never used a stump grinder as we don't really do much of a lawn and we're not really looking to add lawn. we own 23 acres, practically all woods. various family members own about 200 acres surrounding our land, all woods. stump grinding has never come up. but i've seen em. looks easy enough.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Anthony Flack on Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:20 pm

n.c. wrote:stump grinder


Would see.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:36 pm

Stump grinders are like $150 a day at Home depot apparently. Might try the potassium nitrate first and if it doesn't work, then see if they wanna rent a grinder.
Honestly, I just plan on cutting the trees down, cutting them up and burning it all right there, so hopefully that will burn the stump flush or close to flush.
At the very least it would make an easy days work with the grinder. could probably get em all in one day if they were low enough.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby offal on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:20 pm

For that many trees, the grinder is sounding like the better deal.

I did the root rot thing on a stump of hours. After about 6 years the stump got spongy enough that it came out pretty easily with a pick axe. But that's a long time.

A note on burning: if you go this route, be ready to do it all in one go. I tried to burn another stump, had to stop before it burned all the way down, and the partially burned stump was hard to get started again.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby scrotescape on Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:40 pm

If it was me I'd be wearing chaps.





And inoculate the stumps with edible fungi.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:09 pm

offal wrote:For that many trees, the grinder is sounding like the better deal.

I did the root rot thing on a stump of hours. After about 6 years the stump got spongy enough that it came out pretty easily with a pick axe. But that's a long time.

A note on burning: if you go this route, be ready to do it all in one go. I tried to burn another stump, had to stop before it burned all the way down, and the partially burned stump was hard to get started again.


Yeah, i've done some more research and I don't think the potassium what-it's-fuck will be worth messing with.
I'm actually kinda looking forward to this job.
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Re: Do it yourself

Postby Riff Magnum on Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:13 pm

scrotescape wrote:If it was me I'd be wearing chaps.





And inoculate the stumps with edible fungi.



I got chaps for shoeing horses, but they're not as long as the ones i'm seeing for lumberjacks. I'm gonna make sure my hands, eyes, and ears are protected though. Oh yeah, and maybe my brain. My grandpa used to have one of those crazy looking helmets that were hardhat, facemask and earmuffs all in one shebang. Going back home to Illinois when my kids hit spring break and I'm gonna see if that thing is still around somewhere. Don't be jealous.
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